Meghan Markle Is Probably Breathing a Giant Sigh of Relief Over This Year's Canceled Activity at Balmoral

The duchess can rest easy (for as long as baby Archie will allow, that is).

Grouse hunting, aka the act of shooting pheasant-like birds for food and sport, is a royal pastime—one that Meghan Markle is reportedly against, seeing as she's a big animal lover and activist. However, this year's hunting has been officially canceled for reasons outside of the duchess's control, according to Vanity Fair.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle were thought to have visited the queen at Balmoral (the site of royal grouse hunting) for the duchess's birthday on August 4, though they may be visiting later in the month, according to Vanity Fair. William and Kate are believed to be spending some time at the Scottish estate in the coming weeks as well. 

Whenever they make the trek to Balmoral, though, they won't have to worry about packing hunting gear (for which Markle is surely breathing a sigh of relief). Reportedly, a plague of heather beetles that has overtaken the moors of Scotland is the reason the queen's favorite vacation sport was canceled this year. The infestation, which eats the grouse's main food supply, thereby endangering the natural grouse population, has caused the “Glorious Twelfth,” the name for the official first day of grousing season, to be canceled.

Although the queen's been spotted out and about at Balmoral (and having lunch with members of the royal family at a nearby lodge), we likely won't see her, William or Harry going on any hunts this year.

In December, reports surfaced that Markle had asked Prince Harry not to partake in the royal family holiday tradition of going pheasant hunting at Sandringham (the queen’s country estate where the family spends Christmas). Harry, William and Charles have had the tradition of going pheasant shooting on the U.K.’s Boxing Day (the day after Christmas) every year since they were young. 

The tradition apparently caused a bit of tension between the newly engaged royal couple in 2017, so Harry skipped out on the pheasant hunts.

Another royal tradition bites the dust (but we think Markle can come up with some fun new ones to replace it).


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